Photography has been something that has been a part of my life for quite some time, but was never something I expected to turn into a business and full time job. Photography to me was simple, it was fun, a new hobby and a creative outlet that excited me. People ask me all the time how my business came to be, so today I am sharing exactly that! My hobby and creative outlet turned full time business!
My love for photography really began in high school with photography classes. From film to digital courses, I took them all, and continued to learn and teach myself out of class on Youtube and from other photographers. My mom purchased me my first digital camera from Costco in early high school and I practiced with all my family, friends, pets and anyone who was willing to let me photograph them.
After graduating high school, I decided to start offering photography services. Leading up to then, I had been saving up to purchase my first DSLR Camera and prime lens – a very exciting first step in the start of my business! My main client I wanted to photograph was…high school seniors! So without fear, I made the ‘Katie Stormer Photography’ Facebook Page and started telling all my friends, family and basically anyone I knew that I was offering photography services. That first year I booked a great handful of seniors (so so thankful for them!), my business began to grow and I slowly started to figure out what I was doing and the experience and services that I wanted to provide to my clients.
After that summer, I started college and continued to photograph clients in the summer. Summer after summer I began to book more and more seniors and families and word started to travel really fast.
Come mid-college I realized my deep love for my clients + my work. The feeling I got after leaving a session, uploading the gallery, sharing the photos with the senior, and seeing them so, so excited throughout the whole process made me feel so special. I knew the experience I was providing them was fun, joyful and exciting in a time of life that is full of so much change and decision, and at their session they could just be themselves.
With my college graduation approaching, much like my high school seniors, I was feeling very unsure about what was next for me. My last year and a half in college I was juggling school work, an internship, 25+ hours at my part time job at Target, all while still keeping my side hustle afloat. I wasn’t really sure which direction I was supposed to go after graduation. I browsed job listings, went to career fairs, interviewed, did all the ‘normal’ things, yet nothing felt quite right. Graduation came and the one thing I knew was how proud of myself I was for this accomplishment. It took me 5 years (a few major changes!) but in spring of 2019 I graduated with a BA in Communication Arts and a Digital Studies Certificate. It took some time for me to realize, but in the weeks leading up to graduation I began to recognize that I had something that I could make into a career. At that point I had photographed over 100+ clients, so after graduation and with my friend’s and family’s support I decided that this was my next thing: Officially start my photography business and take it full time.
A few weeks after graduation I attended the Creative at Heart Conference, purchased a few courses and starting putting in the work to build a sustainable business that was so much more to me than just taking pictures. That summer I was working full time at Target to help continue to support myself and captured over 45+ seniors, multiples families and a few beautiful weddings.
The goal at that time was to make my business officially official in March of 2020. I had been saving and saving and quit my Job at Target in Early Fall 2019. I spent my days photographing clients, editing, taking courses, researching and prepping myself and everything I needed to have a successful and organized first year in business.
And then just before the official launch of ‘Katie Ann Photography’…Covid happened.
There was a lot of fear, frustrations, concerns, how was I going to my first year of business during a pandemic, but I am so proud of myself for persevering even when things felt too hard.
In April 2020 Katie Ann Photography became officially official. Everything was shut down at the time so I signed papers through the drive through lane at the bank and had many phone calls and zoom meeting to get everything in order. I opened booking that month and despite the concern that people wouldn’t be interested in booking during the pandemic, they did, and a lot of them did. Capturing summer 2020 seniors was one of the best but also one of the hardest seasons, I did everything I possibly could to give them a normal and fun experience despite the confusing things happening around us. My client’s guests and me wore masks during sessions and it sometimes felt hard to connect because I couldn’t fix their hair or give them a hug at the end of the session, and they couldn’t see me smiling at them and their photos along the way. But we navigated these challenges and I feel so so grateful that I was able to provide these seniors with an experience that brought some light and excitement into that strange time.
From there, things continued to grow and grow and grow. I now photograph about 60+ seniors and grads each year along with an amazing handful of families and couples. I am so grateful and proud that the majority of my clients find me through word of mouth and that I have such incredible seniors, couples and families that are so eager and excited to work with me! We are heading into year three of KAP this spring and I couldn’t me more excited with how far I’ve come, especially over the last few years! Here are few business highlights over the last few years:
My business is what it is all thanks to my incredible friends, family and all my amazing clients who believed in me from the very start, spread the word about my business, and left kind and thoughtful reviews over the years. THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart for your endless support and excitement for me!